Fortress Press

eBook-Missa Est!: A Missional Liturgical Ecclesiology

eBook-Missa Est!: A Missional Liturgical Ecclesiology

The twenty-first-century church cannot afford to neglect mission. When church and culture no longer share a common outlook, the only way forward is mission. Pope Francis recognizes this in his call for a missionary conversion of the church. Responding to this invitation, is a constructive work in ecclesiology addressing the relationship between liturgy and mission in the church's life. It advances a notion of the church grounded in both liturgy and mission, where neither is subordinated to nor collapsed into the other. The church's liturgical rites disclose and enact the church's identity as a missionary community.

Close examination of the sources at the heart of traditional communion ecclesiology: Trinitarian theology, the sacraments of initiation, and eucharistic theology, yields an ecclesiology in which the church is constituted by both liturgy and mission. These are two distinct ways of participating in the triune life of God, which is revealed in the paschal mystery. The church's pilgrimage to God's kingdom takes it through the world in mission.  The church, as the body of Christ, is given away to God and to the world, for the world's salvation. The result is a contemporary restatement of traditional ecclesiology, transposed into a missional key.

  • Format eBook
  • ISBN 9781506418599
  • Publication Date January 1, 2017


Introit: An Introduction

Part 1: The Missio Dei: Mission as Redemptive Activity in the World
1. A Church “in Departure”: The Nature of the Church’s Mission
2. Saecula Saeculorum: Mission to the World as Ecclesial Necessity
3. Missio Dei as Paschal Mystery

Part 2: The Paschal Mystery: Liturgy as Redemptive Activity in the Church
4. Baptized into Christ’s Death: Christian Initiation as Missional Vocation
5. The Eucharist: Sacrifice as Communion
6. The Eucharist: Sacrifice as Mission

Part 3: Kingdom Come: Mission as the End of Liturgy, Eschatology as the End of Both
7. By Him, with Him, and in Him: Mission in the Eucharistic Prayer
8. A Church “in Arrival”: The Missional Church in Time and Eternity
Ite, Missa Est! A “Conclusion”




A terrific piece of ecclesiological writing

Missa Est! is a terrific piece of ecclesiological writing. Among its many virtues, it serves as a corrective to the Pelagianism that too often besets contemporary talk about Christian mission. Schlesinger effectively dismantles the artificial contrast between koinonia and missional ecclesiologies, for the true church is both. I found this book very helpful in clarifying my own thinking.”

Joseph L. Mangina | Wycliffe College

Shines a light on the path ahead

"In any ecclesiology rooted in the historical missions of the Son and Spirit, liturgical worship of God and mission to the world are central. But a focus on the liturgy (with its Godward praise) can seem to be in tension with a focus on ethical and evangelizing mission (with its directedness toward the world). Drawing upon a dazzling array of scholarship, and attuned especially to Pope Francis, Kilmartin, Chauvet, von Balthasar, Augustine, Vatican II, and the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, Schlesinger demonstrates that participation in Christ's liturgical self-offering cannot be separated from participation in Christ's liberative self-offering to the world. This is a book to savor, a book that shines a light on the path ahead."

Matthew Levering | Mundelein Seminary

Building on his extensive pastoral experience

"Grounding his ecclesiology in the paschal mystery affected through sacramental liturgy, Schlesinger demonstrates how false is the polarizing alternative between the 'inner' work of communio and the 'outer' work of mission. By building on his extensive pastoral experience in Evangelical Protestantism while turning to such Roman Catholic luminaries as Lonergan, von Balthasar, and de Lubac, Schlesinger contributes to the ecumenical theological work in church and sacraments so essential to the vitality, if not viability, of the church in the twenty-first century."

Bruce T. Morrill, SJ | Vanderbilt University